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Take Our Survey: Preparing Educators for Family Engagement

Family sitting at a table togetherThe National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE) is delighted to join with AACTE and an array of partners—the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium (MAEC), and the National Education Association (NEA)—to expand our understanding of how educators are prepared for family engagement.  As part of this project, we are inviting department heads and chairs of colleges of teacher education to complete our National Survey of Educator Preparation in Family Engagement by October 31. The goal of the survey is to map how educator preparation programs are preparing education candidates for effective family engagement, identify promising practices, and learn and share innovative ideas.  

Preparing Educators for Family Engagement 

Engaging families and communities in learning has always been foundational to student success. Yet, as our nation sets a path forward for education this school year, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the reinvigorated movement for racial justice, family and community engagement is more important than ever before. Many educators, however, are not well-prepared to engage families and communities meaningfully.

  • Deans and department leaders of schools, colleges, and departments of education consistently report that their graduates are not prepared to conduct effective and equitable family engagement.
  • In a 2020 NAFSCE survey, only 43% of early-childhood and K-12 educators agreed or strongly agreed that they were properly prepared to engage families during their training and preparation programs.
  • In a recently released NAFSCE report, only 17 of the 56 U.S. states and territories address training teachers in the most essential components of effective family and community engagement: collaboration and partnership, communication, culture and diversity, and relationships and trust.

This is unfortunate because when educators have opportunities to learn about and practice family engagement, they are more likely to have positive dispositions towards families and build relationships to support children’s learning and development. 

Addressing the Gap: The Launch of the Pre-Service Family Engagement Consortium

To help overcome this challenge, in partnership with AACTE, CAEP, and MAEC, and NEA, NAFSCE has launched a new initiative.  We chose seven state teams, representing California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Wisconsin from a competitive pool of applicants to serve on the recently launched Family Engagement Consortium of Pre-Service Educator Preparation (the Consortium). The Consortium brings together representatives from state education agencies, select educator preparation programs, and leading educational organizations to consider promising new approaches to preparing educators for family engagement. Over the course of the next year, the group will develop a framework that will inform both policy and practice, and support teaching colleges in the development of institution-specific program enhancements.

Ways to Get Involved

We are excited for members of AACTE to join us on this new journey. Here are some ways you can get involved:

  1. Take our survey and spread the word about it.  It will only take about 15 minutes of time and will go a long way in helping us understand the current state of educator preparation in family engagement, especially during this unprecedented time. 
  2. Share your story with us.  Do you teach a course on family and community engagement?  Do you integrate family engagement topics into your coursework? Contact me (caspem@nafsce.org) to share your work in our Promising Practices section of our website. 

Margaret Caspe , Ph.D., is the NAFSCE pre-service and credentialing services consultant. She co-leads the Pre-Service Family Engagement Consortium, a collaborative of national partners and state and higher education teams dedicated to supporting educator preparation in family engagement.